AGPN calls for payments to individual GPs for PCEHR

General practitioners will require an individual service incentive payment (SIP) as well as practice-level incentives to encourage the uptake of the PCEHR, according to the Australian General Practice Network (AGPN).

AGPN chair Emil Djakic said the time-based MBS items were a “piecemeal approach to developing the PCEHR”.

Health Minister Tanya Plibersek recently announced that GPs would be able to claim the longer consultation items if they spent extra time spent setting up and loading documents onto the PCEHR.

The Australian Medical Association today released its own list of items that it says will be required for GPs to use the PCEHR, ranging from $53 to $210.

Dr Djakic said the PCEHR was at a stage that will require a solid and rapid enrolment of patients, which would require a suite of incentives.

These incentives would include a service incentive payment to individual doctors as well as practice incentive payment (PIP), paid to practices to support the establishment of the necessary eHealth infrastructure.

Pulse+IT reported recently that the Department of Health and Ageing was in negotiations with stakeholders to consider an extension to the PIP program for eHealth.

“The quantum of payment is really something that needs to be negotiated with the government," Dr Djakic said.

“The incentive is to get GPs proactive to enrol patients into the PCEHR system. We are raising the fundamental principle that the most effective way to do this is through a direct incentive to a patient's GP.”

The AGPN has also called for Medicare Locals to be adequately funded to assist practices to prepare for the PCEHR. While he has no rough figure on how much extra funding will be required, Dr Djakic said the AGPN would “need to see the goal posts first” and it was still up for discussion with the department.

Asked if some of the people currently contracted to work on the introduction of the PCEHR in the Wave 1 and 2 sites could be redeployed to Medicare Locals, Dr Djakic said the sites all had different functions at present and he could not comment on their ability to do this or not.

He also could not comment on what the government will do with the Wave sites after the PCEHR goes “live” on July 1, but said that “people in Wave 1 and 2 are already working in the network and we wouldn't want to lose that corporate knowledge”.

The AGPN is calling for:

  • An SIP to provide flexibility in the system to enable GPs to be innovative and efficient about the way in which they establish a shared health summary for patients
  • A PIP to support the establishment of the necessary eHealth infrastructure
  • Funding for Medicare Locals to support GPs and practice managers through the change program ahead, from workflows through to data governance issues, and to fund eHealth support officers for this program.

"A well-constructed blended payment model in place for general practice will be a cost-effective way to reach a critical mass of enrolments, a fundamental component of the PCEHR," Dr Djakic said.

"GPs across the network want to see the PCEHR come to fruition but it can't be at their expense and this must be addressed through genuine incentives.

"Fundamentally, GPs will be the lynchpin for the PCEHR because general practice is the gateway to create a shared eHealth summary and the right blend of incentives will help to fast-track the effectiveness of the PCEHR.”

Posted in Australian eHealth

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